Hugo House Conference This Weekend

Ann and I will be part of the Hugo House’s future of publishing conference this weekend, in Seattle. I’m giving the “future” part of the keynote speech Friday, and then Ann and I are conducting a workshop and also a roundtable discussion Saturday and Sunday. Ann’s Weird Tales will have a table in the book room, and you’ll also be able to buy The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals there. The main book vendor will have Booklife and Finch.

Hope to see you there!

Nature, the Oil Spill, and Interdependence

Deadlines have meant that I’ve been unable to post about the mass deaths occurring out in the Gulf of Mexico right now due to the oil spill from a BP deep sea rig. These deaths are largely invisible to us on shore, but every day they continue. And why? Largely because we seem unable to imagine that which we cannot see–therefore, the risk is deemed acceptable. We cannot see fertilizer run-off into the Gulf so that must not be harmful. We cannot see how we surround ourselves with human-made poisons in the form of the chemicals in household sprays and plastics. We cannot easily see how this is connected to cancer rates…or to the overall degradation of our environment. If everyone could perceive it–if every time you came into contact with a toxic substance your arms or hands turned to the color of blood, for example, or if you had to live with part of an oil slick covering your body as you went to work–each person had to have a fraction of the slick permanently attached to them, along with every death, disruption, and poisoning it caused–then, just maybe, we would understand exactly what we are doing, and allowing to be done, to our environment…and why, selfishly, without even considering the intrinsic harm it does regardless of our own existence on this planet…why it matters that we ban certain chemicals, ban off-shore drilling, do a much better job of policing offenders, don’t put sensitive areas at risk.

Everything is interconnected. Here’s the land I love: St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, which is forest and marsh and sea. If the oil reaches this shore, it affects this whole ecosystem. The one described below, in a post I originally made last year using quotes from Thoreau. This oil slick is the kind of thing that makes me furious, makes me feel powerless. Right now, St. Marks is not in the path of the oil because of the way the currents work. But it’s hard to say how this will all end, and there are ecosystems just like the ones at St. Marks that are at risk.

This approach we take to our energy, to our lives, is a kind of madness.

[Read more…]

Weird. Pause.

(Full photo here.)

There’s a pause now, and you stand there looking out through the mist to the other side. There’s the silence that in a movie would come before the sudden appearance of an army through the murk. You’re holding your breath. Arcane processes are in motion. Most of the battles have been won, but it’s the last handful of campaigns that may mean the most. In the hush, all you can do is wait. Messages will come out floating out of the grey sky, some of them fortunate and some unfortunate.

Karin Lowachee, Beyond Victoriana, and The Gaslight Dogs

Beyond Victoriana, which I’ve been meaning to plug, has a great interview with Karin Lowachee, author of The Gaslight Dogs. I think she says some very wise and useful things in the interview, some of which echo my own experience growing up overseas (although I wasn’t born overseas). It’s a very different thing to be exposed to other cultures from within those cultures, and coming back to the U.S. felt very odd at first.

More importantly, I’m also about one-third of the way through her novel, and I have to say this book is thus far really awesome. Tough-minded, unique, specific as to detail, and, in general, evidence of a really great writing talent. I don’t know when I’ll get to finish the book, given deadlines, but I’m impressed!

The Dream of Perpetual Motion

NYTBR just published my review of Palmer’s first novel, The Dream of Perpetual Motion. A really good first novel. Basically, even though I had some quibbles that got cut for space considerations–the middle is too static–my feeling is that Palmer could write just about anything he likes. He’s got the full-on chops and the flexibility and depth. Very exciting.

I also have to say I really appreciated the NYTBR editor’s edit on this review. My original got a little too caught up in Palmer’s own convoluted structure/syntax, which is fine for his book but not for a review. It was nice to see all of that flensed so effortlessly.

Evil Monkey Cares Not

Evil Monkey:
I care not.

Why not?

Evil Monkey:
I don’t care if SF is dying. Everything’s dying. Everything’s decaying and coming back. Sometimes it comes back as a ghost, but even a ghost has a story to tell.

It does seem as if this rant comes up all the time. It made me want to vomit.

Evil Monkey:
Because it upset you so?

[Read more…]

Romanian Predator Novel Surfaces–If You See It, Snag Me a Copy

There it is! Beside a couple of innocent bystanders. It’s been out more than a year, the Romanian translation of my Predator novel. Despite promises of “copies in the mail” from my editor and friend (?) Horia Ursu, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of it. If you see a copy somewhere, send me one. It’d sure be nice to have one on the bookshelf. I assume DH got paid their licensing fee, too.

Okay, back to the salt mines, with a little bit of a growl.

What’re You Up To? (And Thirdbearblurbage)

(Cover by Jacob McMurray)

I’m out the full week on deadlines, so please share what you’ve been up to since I can’t. Also, my story collection The Third Bear is scheduled to come out in August from Tachyon, and some very nice people have read it in advance and offered some words. I feel very blessed.


“Cunningly crafted stories full of wonder and intelligence…VanderMeer proves again why he is so essential and why everybody should be reading him.”
—Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

“Jeff Vandermeer is not to be trusted. He hypnotizes with shiny objects, bizarrely beautiful shapes and phrases, then (more often than not) gently drifts you into very dark places. You won’t know where you’re going till you get there and then, of course, it’s too late.”
—Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy

“Vandermeer’s stories hit one’s hindbrain slantwise—they offer no easy answers and no comfort. Rather they are hard, brilliant gems meant to cut and shine—these are some of the most beautiful, upsetting, and accomplished tales I have ever read.”
—Catherynne M. Valente, author of The Orphan’s Tales

“The Third Bear contains some of my favorite stories of recent years. There’s the meticulous workplace surrealism of ‘The Situation,’ the remorseless multi-world cataclysms of ‘The Goat Variations,’ the beautiful eldritch heartsickness of ‘The Surgeon’s Tale.’ [co-written with Cat Rambo]. Jeff VanderMeer is one of the very best.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

“Jeff VanderMeer knows what story can do to human consciousness, as is delightfully evident in his latest collection, The Third Bear. These stories are smart, gorgeous, allusive, and tricky. VanderMeer is a fantasist extraordinaire.”
—Jack O’Connell, author of The Resurrectionist

“Annexing the weird half-lit spaces between genres, these stories lean sometimes into fantasy and sf, sometimes into metafiction, but are always deft and pleasurable reads. VanderMeer is one of the few writers out there able to coax something startling and necessary from anything…a very strong collection.”
—Brian Evenson, author of Last Days

“Jeff VanderMeer’s work is subversive and disquieting, possessed of an almost kinetic force in its impact upon the mind. Body horror gone viral, fairytales wrapped in their own entrails, and metafictional murder; these and other images herein are sure to leave their mark and fester in the subconscious. Already a well-regarded fantasist, The Third Bear reveals VanderMeer at his most fearsome.”
—Laird Barron, author of The Imago Sequence and Other Stories

Michael Moorcock Nonfiction From Savoy

John Coulthart just posted some amazing photos of the collected nonfiction of Michael Moorcock, from Savoy. I think Coulthart might’ve outdone himself here.

Psst, Between You, Me, and the Wall: Kosher Guide Limited Edition…Very Limited

See that thar limited right below this post–the Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals? Tachyon’s selling it. They’re only ever gonna be 34 copies, one for each animal. So they’re all individualized. Go forth and plunder.